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When a Spouse Cannot Be Found in Nebraska
When one spouse wants to call it quits but cannot find his or her missing partner, or when he or she is hiding, divorce by publication comes into play. Divorce by publication happens "only after a judge has been convinced, based on a sworn declaration, of the serving party's inability to find the Defendant after trying hard. Service by publication is commonly used in a divorce action to serve a spouse who has disappeared without a leaving a forwarding address... "
When the Respondent cannot or will not be found (and, therefore, the Sheriff cannot "personally serve" him or her with the Summons and Compliant for Divorce, as required by law), the Petitioner may with the court's permission permit service by publication. Before asking the court for permission, however, the Petitioner must demonstrate that he or she make "every reasonable effort to try to find out where [the missing spouse] is working or living."
Nebraska's Search Requirements and Process
Nebraska courts require a good faith effort by the Petitioner to prove that he or she has made a genuine search for his or her missing partner. This search may entail checking the telephone book and directory assistance in the area where the missing spouse is last known to have lived, asking friends and relatives who might know where the missing spouse might be living, checking the post office for any forwarding address, and checking any other possible sources that might lead to a current address.
In order to be eligible for a "Divorce by Publication", you must complete and submit an Affidavit of Diligent Search to the court. This document clearly outlines all of the actions you have taken to locate your spouse, essentially proving to the court that your spouse absolutely can't be found.
If you actively pursue locating your spouse through the methods outlined in the Affidavit of Diligent Search, and still can't locate your spouse, then a "Divorce by Publication" is your likely method of getting a divorce.
Filing for Divorce by Publication in Nebraska
If the search is fruitless, the Petitioner files an Affidavit in Support of Motion for Service by Publication DC6:6(2), which is a notarized statement attesting to his or her efforts to locate the missing spouse. The Petitioner also prepares a Motion for Service by Publication DC6:6(1), which requests "an order allowing substitute service on the defendant for reason that service cannot be made with reasonable diligence by personal service," and an Order for Service by Publication DC 67:6(3), which orders the publication.
When the court is satisfied with the effort, it Issues the Order for Service by Publication, which gives the Petitioner permission to publish, as is applicable, a Notice of Divorce Proceeding - No Children DC 6:6(4) or Notice of Divorce Proceeding - With Children DC 6:6(5).
This notice is service of process for the missing spouse. It contains a summary statement of the claim for relief of the complaint, mentions the court wherein it is filed, and notifies the person or persons thus to be served when they are required to answer. The Notice of Divorce Proceeding - No Children states that he Complaint seeks to "obtain a dissolution of marriage on the ground that the marriage is irretrievably broken and to obtain an equitable division of property..."; the Notice of Divorce Proceeding - With Children form states that the Complaint seeks to "obtain a dissolution of marriage on the ground that the marriage is irretrievably broken, to obtain an equitable division of property, and to determine custody and child support." The notice is published once in each week for three successive weeks in a newspaper in the county where the complaint is filed if there is one and, if there is not, in a newspaper printed in Nebraska of general circulation in that county.
Once the newspaper has published the notice for three consecutive weeks, it prepares an Affidavit of Publication, which is returned to the Petitioner and becomes part of the court record of the action.
If the missing spouse fails to respond within the limit set by the court, the court dissolves the marriage 60 days after the missing spouse was served by publication.
From start to finish, Service by Publication takes about two to three months.
Nebraska Service by Publication is described in Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-517.02 to 25.520.03 and 42.372.
Copyright Notice: These Nebraska divorce laws above are copyrighted by Divorce Source, Inc. This abbreviated and revised version of the state laws has been compiled from applicable state laws and unauthorized reproduction in any fashion is prohibited. Violation of this copyright notice may result in immediate legal action.